cleverchickadee


Wicked Good Lobstah Suppah, paht 3 –mussel madness by quornflour

As I stated before: mussels are my favorite mollusk. Not only are they delicious but they are also a pretty versatile protein source.

Did you know that a 3 oz (6oz with shell on, about 10 mussels) serving of mussels provides 340% of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin B-12? Those 3 oz are about 145 calories and loads of other minerals your body loves. Wanna talk about protein for a second? 10 mussels provide about as much protein as 4oz steak with only a fraction of the fat and most of that fat is the good stuff.

They live above the mud hanging on to rocks with their beards and do not end up with the gritty sandiness that is often associated with their sweeter cousin the clam.

Sea birds also like mussels, however their hard shell can be a deterrent, a mussel will open to move and to eat, but when it senses danger it snaps closed. Birds, such as seagulls will take a mussel, fly high above a rock and drop the shell to the rock below to crack it open, then swoop back down to collect and enjoy the meat.

As humans we have tools and fire, which make enjoying mussels a little less taxing, when cooked a mussel will relax and open making the meat easily accessible. If a mussel does not pop open when cooked, I just assume let it be as I would a shrimp with a flat tail.

In childhood I remember mostly just eating them steamed in water and dipped in butter.

One of my favorite methods (probably because I love tomatoes so much) is to cook them in a creamy tomato basil style steam.

Here is what you will need:

  • 3 pounds of mussels
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 5 large tomatoes (heirloom tomatoes add a nice mixture of color) cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 cups of ½ & ½
  • ½ Cup grated parmesan cheese (or other similar hard cheese)
  • ¼ cup basil “grass”
  • 3 green onions cut into “grass”

If you want to make this more of a creamy sauce, you could start by making a roux, but to keep this gluten free and because I like the separation of the cheese for this particular recipe I did not.

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a 4-5 quart Dutch oven, bring it to temp (spits when hit with a drop of water or thins like water)
  2. Add 2 cloves garlic and brown
  3. Once the garlic is brown turn the heat to low and add the tomatoes, stir and cover.

Meanwhile in a saucepan:

  1. Add remaining olive oil and also bring to temp
  2. Add 2 cloves of garlic and brown
  3. Turn heat to medium
  4. Add ½ & ½ and cheese and stir

And back to the Dutch oven we go…

  1. When it starts to form a light steam add to tomatoes and stir
  2. Add most of the green onions (save a few for garnish)
  3. Add mussels, cover until the mussels pop open (this won’t take long)
  4. Add basil
  5. Stir up and serve warm

Remember, like many sea creature, if you over cook them they will turn chewy and they will continue to cook for a few minutes after they are removed from the heat, so only steam them until they open.

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